Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The two extremes are not mutually exclusive!

The MoA report should be here (it's a pretty one, you'll see it tomorrow), but something just came in. Sugar wrote the main problem about highsec development: "There are people who want to stay in high sec and nothing will make them leave. There are people who want no one to stay in high sec and wish to cripple everything about it. There are people in between, but the two extremes are large and emotional in discussion."

It seems like an unsolvable dilemma. Help highsec and make nullsec people mad, nerf them and make them mad. However I disagree. You can make both of them happy. You see, WoW did it partially right. There are awful lot of fun content available for "someone's grandmother". They can run around in the world, pick flowers, get pretty dresses, cute pets and majestic dragons to ride and get awesome achievements if only they can press a random icon on their castbar. And this is good! In the real world we are customers of an entertainment provider and if we pay, we deserve to be entertained. I believe EVE should be the same: anyone's grandmother should be able to fly around in space and shoot bad Guristas and Blood Raiders and get awesome medals and achievements for doing so.

On the other hand WoW is going down because of welfare epics. The idea that everyone's grandmother can beat the biggest baddest monster and can wield the most powerful gear and get filthy rich. Because of that idea the competitive players leave in disgust as they have nothing to measure themselves. In the game we are aspiring heroes facing extreme challenges and only the best shall prevail. Instead in WoW everyone is a big winner, so no one is. This is bad and EVE should never be the same.

The solution is a "fun but poor" highsec. A content rich, awesome-flashy spaceship world where you can exterminate badass Guristas forces and get rewarded with 1-2M ISK per hour. Where you dodge swirling asteroids and mine untold riches from them for similar ISK ratio. Where you can team up with 10-20 other someone's grandmothers using random group finder tool to form a fleet under and NPC FC and crush the invading Sanshas in T2 fit T1 battleships for 5-10M/hour. For doing these you get Faction badges, flashy achievements, the gate-guarding NPCs praise your name, get unique ship skins, dresses, cute pets for your captain's quarters and always, always there is a next task to make yourself even more awesome in the eyes of NPCs.

In the eyes of other players, everyone's grandmother would be an impoverished nobody who doesn't even worth ganking. She owns nothing and affects nobody and it won't ever change unless she leaves the safety and poverty of highsec for other areas where the income is 10-100x higher but even the Gurista frigs get under the guns of her "unstoppable" T2 fit T1 battleship to scram, web and EWAR it. Not to mention much-much more vicious pirates: other players. The riches, power and community fame should be outside of highsec. The current setup where I can earn a titan in two months while being unstoppable by anyone is totally unbalanced. I shouldn't be able to do what I'm doing. Also, I'm bored to death while doing it. I shouldn't be "forced" to do it if I want to play competitively.

Highsec should get most of the development resources to cater to the majority of subscribers who don't want to leave it. And it should be crippled totally to make sure that EVE is a competitive game and not WoW in space.


Raphael said...

There's one huge hole in that argument: it only works if Grandma's ship never gets blown up.

In most MMOs, you can afford slow, incremental growth like that because you never get reset to zero. There's no gear-destruction mechanics, death is a slap on the wrist, and any gold/loot/experience you earn is yours permanantly.

EVE doesn't work like that. In EVE, your income has to cover expected profit PLUS the value of expected losses. I guarantee that Grandma's expected losses are over 1m/hr in anything that's still recognisably EVE - specifically, in any scenario where the game still has permanant ship losses and PvP in highsec.

Highsec ships/modules need to be the same as low/null ships and modules, because it needs to be possible for the two player groups to cross-pollinate. If a new player can't day-trip to low/null with the ships he earned in highsec, he effectively can't leave at all. If no new player can ever leave highsec, EVE is a dead game walking.

You can't drop the prices of highsec ships/modules to where they can be realistically replaced regularly on 1-2M ISK/hr - because as noted above, they're not unique to highsec. If highsec incomes are enough to pay for a steady stream of T1 hulls with T2 fits, then highsec alts are still a viable income source for low/null players and you haven't changed anything.

And you can't prevent Grandma ever losing her ship, either. It might be possible to tone down the missions so that even the most incompetent player is never in danger without also making them so easy that everyone (even Grandma) gets bored and quits... but I wouldn't bet on that. And even if you do, there are still other players to contend with. She might not be worth ganking for profit, but her mission-running Raven probably costs around 250M ISK - well over 100 hours of effort at her highsec income level. That represents an enormous tear-farming opportunity, so she WILL get ganked.

Dirk MacGirk said...

I agree that hisec, or at least some portion of it, should be more about catering to the fun side of PVE rather than the grind side of PVE. PVE in general should be as entertaining and enjoyable as possible everywhere, but I'd dial it up in hisec because there is a market out there for players who just want to chill in EVE and PVE for fun. I'd even dial down the risk IN SOME PARTS of it to accomplish that. But like you said, to do that you've also got to dial down the reward side, although maybe not to 1-2m ISK/hour. But that is where we hit a brick wall in the conversation. Ask someone if they want it to be safer so they can just chill and have fun, and they say yes. Tell them they can't earn enough in a month to PLEX their accounts or grow wealthy over time, and they shit the bed. Some people don't get why it can't be both, and for those who don't it's hard to explain the interconnectivity of EVE's economy and the idea of risk-free income.

But from a business perspective, CCP should very much be looking at how to reformulate hisec because I think they are giving up a market that could very much co-exist with the rest of the game so long as the risk and reward tradeoff made sense. Hisec should be a place where people can stay forever. It should be fun and engaging so far as fun and engaging can go in the form of constant PVE.

johnhoward said...

Someone's grandmother has a wealth of free content to her in hisec already. As an added bonus and a service to the community many player groups will generate additional content for her to enrich her experience. And hell, if its one of our pilots we will even send her a survey to see if there is any way we can improve on that content delivery.
This is what makes eve truly unique, and eliminatung this opportunity for players to interact freely would remove this.

S Riojas said...

An interesting solution if that is the actual problem. It would certainly make a number of people squirm uncomfortably if their high sec ISK making alt suddenly could not support their PvP non-high sec life style.

Anonymous said...

so your solution is to rope off the competitive players in an exclusive area where they can compete for the ultimate prize, other players respect? while the majority of players avoid this area and don't care about the rewards gained there.

you just invented Arenas. good job.

Gevlon said...

@Raphael: You WAY overestimate ganking. We know from CCP that 476T ships were lost in 2013 According to the graph (look-at guess) 15% of it was in highsec. There are 300K accounts (estimated) and 2/3 of it is in highsec. That means 360M/year aka 1M/day average highsec loss. I'd guess most of it was lost by whales (idiots in JFs, purple machariels).

Ganking for tears is impossible as no one in highsec will grind 100 hours for a battleship. They will PLAY 100 hours for fun and on the side get a battleship. You can only gank for tears those who hated farming, did it to enable some fun in nullsec and you take away that fun by destroying the asset.

@Dirk MacGirk: someone who just chill solo should NEVER be able to PLEX his account. He isn't providing content for another customer, so why should he get a free ride? On the opposite, the null ratter should be able to PLEX, since he provided lot of fun to roamers.

@johnhoward: who wanted to turn off ganking?

@S Riojas: and they should scream! Being a badass pirate looking down on carebears while having a carebear alt is the most disgusting property of EVE players. Either be a full-time carebear or earn your ISK like a badass pirate.

@Anon: actually the whole EVE universe outside of highsec (and some activities in highsec) would be one arena.

sorrowofeve said...

What you would like to do, would require years of development.

I think with the available technology and not much coding you could achive to draw the MMORPG raiding community to EVE Online. Make a reputation for "raiding" corps amongst the high sec community, making HQ corps renowned, and players competing for recruitment places. Also forcing them to do a minimum amount of PvP for the greates reward, and introducing them to low sec.

See my full idea at:

Black Pedro said...

The problem of a too lucrative highsec in Eve is much worse than the "welfare epics" in WoW. In Eve, the other players ARE the content. Setting up the incentives so that the most efficient way for them to progress (say, earn enough a titan like your example) is to grind incursions in highsec actually depletes content from the game. It's like Blizzard coding the latest raid boss to pack up and move Orgrimmar and hide behind the NPC guards for some reason. At least welfare epics of others don't directly affect my gameplay in WoW. Easy, risk-free ISK in highsec drains the other spaces of activity, targets and content.

You are correct. Eve Online can and should be fun for all types of players. But what it cannot be, at least if it wants to retain some semblance of the single-universe PvP sandbox it started as, is a place where players can earn a competitive income while enjoying the free protection of omnipotent NPCs. Keep highsec safe, but make it pay way less. Perhaps this will require a separate currency or set of resources, but it is impossible long-term to have a space where economy-altering levels of resources can be acquired with little to no risk of disruption by the other players in a sandbox game. This will lead to the majority of player activity migrating there, and then the failure of the economy and transformation of all the space outside of highsec into a consensual PvP zone, only ventured into by players when they are looking for a fight and expect to lose whatever they are flying.

I guess for some people that is their vision of Eve and it is increasingly looking like they will get what they want as CCP delivers nerf after nerf to highsec risk, while simultaneously buffing highsec income. What they won't like though is the disintegration of one of Eve's best features - the player-driven economy - which relies on destruction and loss, and the continued stagnation of nullsec, the major driver of outside interest in the game. Personally, I don't think an Eve where consensual, and thus meaningless, drunken roams outside of highsec are the primary form of PvP is a very engaging game, but as others have said while Eve isn't dying, perhaps the original vision of Eve, my game, is and at some point it will be time to move on.

But for now, I will continue enjoy the game as best I can. If I am wrong, and Eve pulls through as a player-driven, single universe competitive PvP game, I win with many more hours of enjoyment of a very engaging gaming experience. If the game continues down the path to a consensual-only spaceship combat simulator, I will watch with interest at what will become a future case study of how (or how not) to design a PvP sandbox game, at least until the point CCP nerfs my play style completely into irrelevance.

Luke said...

On some level, think alternate currency might be it. Skins, shinies of specific PVE value can be obtained by it, but "assault weapons" are not. It could even make sense lore-wise , as a part of effort of empires to control bloodthirsty capsuleers.

Folowing that, only basic PVP assets should be legal in highsec. Anything over T1 and not Highsec-PVE-locked is considered contraband. Same goes for research and development of said assets, and trafficking of null-sourced materials required to build them.

If you want reward, risk it.

Still, think as far as null go, the grind - based activities should also go the way of dodo. Mining can be replaced by infrastructure that requires building and protecting - from both NPC's and other players, but no straight isk printing. Make rats be attracted to both infrastructure and assets, but scuttle if faced with overwhelming forces. Make rat's nest that contain sought-after components but are one offs: things worth fighting for, that require fleet presence (to both eliminate NPC's and potential hostile fleet) - but limit those to undeveloped space.

The problem with current null, that once you turn some portion of it into secure isk printer, it is nearly impossible to stop the cycle (save killing ~60 titans a month just to stop the machine, not reverse the effect)

Anonymous said...

They are already on this path. Although rather than incorporating it into eve into they are are developing other games, Valkyrie, gun jack, etc.

Gevlon said...

Those are different genres of games and I have serious doubt about their success or even their completion. See also: DUST, World of Darkness

99smite said...

Are you reading, whar you are writing? IF you talk or write ybout income nerfs in Highsec, then, seriously consider trading income nerf for Highsec, especially Jita. Why should someone, who is paying a sub to CCP because he is a casual player and therefore cannot attend pap links, CTAs, lolfleet F1 pushing actions, nor join incursion fleets regularly as his playtime is limited, earn just a few isk, whereas another person who does basically the same, only in this case, instead of unkocking and shooting npcs, the latter guy sits in Jita and scrolls through marketdata....
If you want to nerf highsec income, nerf it "evenly", meaning any highsec activity...

On the other hand, EVE is just like WoW in regard of PVP. There are no elite pvper, well there are maybe a handful in the whole EVE community. Most PVP is done in fleets where you have superior firepower and numbers, superior HP and reps.... Anyway, looking at KB Data, 90% of solo kills are ganks, 90% of the overall kills were done by more than one pilot....

Flying in 0.0 requires no more skill than flying anywhere else. Why is it that Goons and ALL THE OTHER 0.0 residents rat 24/7???? To hone their skills?

Why are more rats killed in 0.0 than in highsec? Because only the best of the best fly there and are soo cool that they have the time to shoot NPCs while fighting EPIC PVP duels???

Have you any idea of what you are talking? If ecen DirkMacGirk agrees with you, I become suspicious....

Anonymous said...

Assuming it can be any more crippled after recent years of crippling applied to it in process of repeated nerfbatting ever since Odyssey.
Well, I guess you can always make it even more intolerably pathetic against null in terms of income than it already is. I've been forced to move out to null to make income, and I hate every second of it, because I lack all the awesome things I can do in hisec due to the fact they would lead to me blowing up in null faster than it'll take me to regret it.

So it already happened. Hisec is already poor as shit. Anyone who wants to have anything at all is pushed into null. Go on, keep crying "nerf hisec" just like most of the gewns do. It'll be dead soon anyway with all the nerfbatting, along with eve, so by all means, keep kicking the dead dog that hisec is.

Anonymous said...

Highsec missions make 40m+ per hour. Nerf that to <2m per hour and many, perhaps even most highsec players, will simply quit in disgust. Most of them will not leave highsec, as it is all they have known for years, and if they had any desire to leave they'd have done so already. Nerfing their playstyle into the floor doesn't make them change it - it makes them livid.

If we were designing a new game from scratch, maybe you could get away with this design. EVE, though, is over 10 years old and you simply cannot make a change that the majority of your playerbase (yes, highsec players are the majority of your playerbase) hates so much and expect your game to live.

Also, having highsec players be perpetually poor isn't even desirable. Many people (myself included!) stayed in highsec for so long because we were building up our wealth to the point we felt we could *afford* to try out nullsec. If you completely gimp the highsec economy such that it is NEVER profitable enough to build up real wealth, people will never develop that financial cushion they feel they have to have in order to try moving to null. Sure, some will stay there forever if you allow people to build wealth there, but if you don't let them build wealth there then you're effectively throwing them to the wolves with no experience, no isk, no resources and no hope. Nullsec is often not fun for new players. They don't have the resources to compete and win.

Gevlon said...

@99smite: I can't believe that there are idiots who still don't get that trading is PvP activity (it generates no wealth, one gains what the other loses)

@all: Why would it matter to a highsec player if he earns little ISK? He is playing for fun! ISK is just a number, why does he care if it's 40M/hour or 2M? He won't be able to spend it anyway, except for PLEX, which he SHOULDN'T be able to afford.

Sñr. Plátano said...

Mr. Banana likes this. 10 years character here. Highsec is for learning and do basic pve, pvp, economy. Low-null should be where the main player base have fun. PLEX is a toxic solution to ammend a subscription problem. Working in Eve to play without paying is sad. Working in rl to play eve is the way to go ffs.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, there's no way that a moderately skilled user (10-15mill skill points) can make 40mill per hour in high sec missions without a 600m+ cost for ship + modules at least and at least 800dps.

After the nerfing of processing modules and the lowering of bounties/drops/salvage you'd be lucky if you can make 25 mill per hour in high sec between bounties, lp, loot and salvage. Farming missions have gone and are no longer worth doing.

The main profitable things in high sec are chaining burner missions (which are specialized and a higher learning curve and difficulty than level 4), incursions (which also require specialized ships) and AFK mining (which requires that you leave your eve running the entire day with an interaction every 20 min or so, but that will get you about 10mill isk per hour even in a Retriever, so if you work from home it can net you 100+ mill per day with little investment in ship and skill )